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Author Topic: Toes - why do we have them ?  (Read 14648 times)

Offline neilep

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Toes - why do we have them ?
« on: 03/03/2004 20:32:32 »
Unlike my fingers, I can really only move my big toe and the others follow  ...why ?...well, I don't know  and that's why I'm asking, I mean, I'm sure there's a biological/muscular type answer but with regards to evolution do we really need our toes ?[?]...perhaps in the distant past when we hanged about in trees etc our toes were needed more, and were independently controlled....but if I raise my toes I can still walk , skip, run and jump quite well and I wonder if a few thousand years from now, we won't have any. To halt this process I think we should all climb a tree once a day barefeet:)....but your serious thoughts and witty responses will be most appreciated. Foot fetishists may also respond:D

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« Last Edit: 07/03/2004 04:48:12 by NakedScientist »


 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #1 on: 03/03/2004 21:21:33 »
If you think you don't need your toes try doing yoga.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #2 on: 03/03/2004 22:29:46 »
I have tried Yoga Donnah, couldn't relax long enough !!, but what I'm getting at, is that, could there be an evolutionary reason why we can only wriggle our big toe when with our hands we can wriggle our fingers indepedently, try it...hold your big toe and ty and wriggle the others....but what has Yoga got to do with needing toes ?

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« Last Edit: 03/03/2004 23:13:47 by neilep »
 

Offline Donnah

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #3 on: 04/03/2004 01:30:45 »
I can wiggle my other toes, even when I hold the big toe.  It would take practice to get really good at it though, and there are so many other things to do...  Maybe toes tend to move with the big toe because if you've seen the muscles in your feet there are five strips, one from each toe and they all join into one band in about the middle of your foot.  So if you pull on the big muscle, it would pull the five little bands to your toes.

Yoga - when balancing on one foot for some of the postures I use my toes.
 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #4 on: 04/03/2004 02:34:08 »
Toes in bipedal creatures are for balance...gripping the surface that you're standing on and/or making minor adjustments to the position of your center of mass.  They don't seem like they have very precise musclular control until you realize that you can adjust the angle of the standing position of your entire body with just your toes.



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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #5 on: 04/03/2004 07:23:47 »
There was a man on the news a few years ago that had his arms amutated when he was five and can do everything with his feet: turn taps on, hold cups of tea, hold paintbrushes, you name it.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #6 on: 04/03/2004 10:46:19 »
Well, it was an amazing 'feet' but I'm convinced and i'll 'toe' the line.....still, is there not some reason why they are not as flexible to use as fingers ?...but does no one agree that our toes may be becoming less 'useable', I'm still directing my point at the evolutionary point of view.

Erin, I completely agree about peoples abilities to use their toes for a number of tasks like painting etc, but It's obvious that that has to be learned doesn't it ?......Thanks for your responses.



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« Last Edit: 04/03/2004 10:47:15 by neilep »
 

Offline tweener

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #7 on: 04/03/2004 17:44:15 »
If I remember my neural physiology correctly, there are a lot more neurons going to the hands than to the feet.  This would make it impossible to attain the same control over your toes as you have over your hands.  Not to say that practice wouldn't make for vast improvement, just that the physiology will always be a limiting factor.

I don't think any evolution is occurring in the human race now.  The population is so large and the gene pool so well mixed that characteristics are simply moving around, not being eliminated or enhanced.  Natural Selection has been eliminated, at least for all but the most aggregious mutations.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #8 on: 04/03/2004 19:55:43 »
John (putting on my optimistic hat here)...I'll meet you here in ten thousand years and see if your evaluation/prediction about 'non evoluton' comes true.....how about 18:30 GMT ?

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #9 on: 07/03/2004 15:32:27 »
Natural selection always happens, it just isn't going towards things that seem 'natural' for example if a guy is born without a penis he won't be eliminated if he has enough money to afford a test tube baby! If someone is poor then they'll be eliminated. I guess it's just really subtle, the things that are selected for.

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Offline tweener

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #10 on: 07/03/2004 22:16:13 »
Neil - you're on.  04 March 12004 at 18:30 GMT.

AS for natural selection, I've read a couple of articles taking the position that  natural selection is completely bogus.  Evolution is caused completely by random mutations and natural variation among populations.  Because of the way inheritance works, smaller populations evolve faster because of the reinforcement of some genes in the close-kin matings that occur.  The authors have (supposedly) shown that random variation alone can account for the evolution that is evidenced by the fossil records.

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Offline C-guy

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #11 on: 08/03/2004 07:31:04 »
In any case, I think toes would be an evolutionary advatage when we had a good chance of being eaten. Toes give us a little more spring in our step, which is needed when you're being chased by a lion.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #12 on: 08/03/2004 12:21:51 »
quote:
Originally posted by C-guy

In any case, I think toes would be an evolutionary advatage when we had a good chance of being eaten. Toes give us a little more spring in our step, which is needed when you're being chased by a lion.

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Yes, C-guy, but the chances of being chased down the road by a saber tooth nowadays is rather remote don't you think ?...that's why I'm posing this for debate. We don't do much running from animals that want us for lunch in this day and age.........apart from the Tax Man of course :)

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Offline christianchick

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #13 on: 08/03/2004 18:06:06 »
well a long time ago when america sitll practiced slavery, runaway slaves had their toes cut off so that they couldn't run as fast, it's kind of a lever effect and it keeps us more balanced, if someone pushes you from behind you normally use your toes to keep balance

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Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #14 on: 08/03/2004 18:32:56 »
Fine, we need our toes :Dgonna grab my toes and stick em all back on:)(for the record. I never really doubted the importance of toes, I love my toes, they make my feet all nice and happy:D).......but the gist of my posting was really that from a historical/evolutionary point of view do we think that in the past , there is a possibility that our toes were more flexible in use, than they are today......Now where did I put my toes ?...hang on!!!...whys my cat looking all full up......[?]:D

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Offline Donnah

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #15 on: 08/03/2004 22:44:30 »
Not to worry Neil, your cat will hork them up[:p] for you in a nice fat furball if you supply him/her with a bit of grass[^] to get things moving.;)
« Last Edit: 08/03/2004 22:45:41 by Donnah »
 

Offline bezoar

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #16 on: 09/03/2004 12:06:06 »
I think toes are generally necessary for balance in walking and standing -- even if you don't like to run.  And if they're only good for running, does this mean that some day in the far, far future, when evolution has done its thing with feet, that we won't have any joggers?
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #17 on: 09/03/2004 12:25:47 »
:Dwell...my cat horked them up and despite the warmth and their new inherited insulation they still fit.....Nancy...that's funny about the joggers,*big smile* perhaps they'll turn into hoppers !!:)

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Offline Quantumcat

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #18 on: 09/03/2004 12:29:52 »
Well Neil now you know not to wiggle your toes in the presence of your cat :-P

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Offline C-guy

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #19 on: 10/03/2004 01:28:39 »
Neil, I said When.

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Offline neilep

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #20 on: 10/03/2004 21:42:39 »
.........Sorry C-Guy, didn't mean to upset you at all...in fact all my queries and responses are very tongue in cheek:D, perhaps so that I could have understood your response easier (you have to drop down to my level of thinking you see)you could have said  'which was needed when we were being chased by lions' instead of 'which is needed when you're being chased by a lion'....sorry again....forgive  me ?

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Offline Thorin

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #21 on: 31/12/2004 18:11:37 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

Fine, we need our toes :Dgonna grab my toes and stick em all back on:)(for the record. I never really doubted the importance of toes, I love my toes, they make my feet all nice and happy:D).......but the gist of my posting was really that from a historical/evolutionary point of view do we think that in the past , there is a possibility that our toes were more flexible in use, than they are today......Now where did I put my toes ?...hang on!!!...whys my cat looking all full up......[?]:D

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Re: Toes - why do we have them ?
« Reply #21 on: 31/12/2004 18:11:37 »

 

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